Kurt Helin


Report: Kristaps Porzingis signs shoe deal with Adidas, Nike not expected to match


Adidas has opened its checkbook up to add big names to its list of endorsing players: James Harden, Derrick Rose, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Wiggins, John Wall, and on down the line. How much that has helped is up for debate, but the shoe wars have been back the past couple years as Adidas goes after every potential star.

Now add Kristaps Porzingis — the man carrying the hopes of all Knicks fans — to the list.

Nick DePaula of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the story.

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with adidas, sources told The Vertical.

The deal will pay Porzingis, 21, between $3 million and $6 million annually, depending on incentive bonuses met. It’s the most lucrative shoe deal signed by a European player to date.

Nike, his previous sponsor, has until mid-October to match the exact terms of the adidas contract because of the brand’s standard “right to match” clause, but Nike is not expected to match the deal, sources said.

Porzingis played in Kobe Elite Highs last season (a lighter shoe than most bigs prefer).

Adidas put together a package of money and marketing that is more than Nike apparently wants to spend. Which seems a little surprising considering the market and the popularity of the player, but on the flip side big men have never sold shoes (guards and wings have always had more success with signature brands).

If Porzingis develops into what Knicks fans dream… well, that may be an unreasonable standard, some Knicks fans expect him to walk on water. But if he leads the Knicks back to contention, this could be a steal.

(And if all you’re going to do in the comments is make a “joke” about his knees/ankles now, do better. That isn’t why guys get injured.)

Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry isn’t going to make 400 three-pointers this season

Associated Press
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Last season, Stephen Curry hit 402 three-pointers, the most ever by an NBA player.

The record before that was 286 — by Stephen Curry the season before.

Like many things from the record-breaking 73-win season of the Warriors, they don’t plan on chasing that again. This is Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

The Warriors are done hunting records. Besides, Kevin Durant‘s usage rate will mean fewer shots for Curry, Klay Thompson, and on down the line. So long as the wins pile up, nobody will care (or at least talk)

Kyle Lowry says he’ll opt out of $12 million deal next summer, will seek near max


Kyle Lowry doesn’t want to leave the Raptors, he just wants to get paid.

In what should be a surprise to nobody, Lowry will opt out of the $12 million he is set to make for the 2017-18 season and seek the big bucks as a free agent next summer. With the cap reaching unprecedented levels, you can’t blame him. The question is, at age 31, will the Raptors pay to keep him and for how long? Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the details after speaking to Lowry.

Lowry plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, he told The Vertical, passing on a $12 million salary in 2017-18 to join a point-guard marketplace that will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Golden State’s Steph Curry, who has already said he plans to re-sign with the Warriors.

As an organization, the Raptors have richly rewarded those responsible for the franchise’s unprecedented success: From DeMar DeRozan’s five-year, $139 million extension in July, to the extensions and high-end raises for president Masai Ujiri and coach Dwane Casey, Toronto conducts itself as a legitimate big-market powerhouse.

“If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [the talks] should be easy,” Lowry told The Vertical. “I think it should be a situation where a guy shouldn’t have to talk to another team. DeMar didn’t have the chance to talk to another team. For me, I think that at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – something should be close. If not, I’m open to seeing what else is out there.”

Few players have improved year over year and put as much into their game as Lowry, who has risen to the level of All-Star, franchise cornerstone point guard, and Olympic gold medal winner. He has earned the big payday coming his way, and no doubt the Raptors will be willing to back up the Brinks truck to keep him.

The question is less the money than the years. Lowry will be 31 next summer, approaching the age when point guards often start to see a decline in production. This has the potential to be the kind of contract where it is a fair deal the first few years but the team may regret that fifth season. Can they convince him to take four years (which is all other teams could offer him as a free agent)? Is there a deal to be had?

That said, don’t expect Lowry to be a guy playing the field — expect the Raptors to step up, Lowry to agree, and the deal to get done soon after free agency opens.

Report: Nuggets guard Gary Harris out 4-6 weeks with partially torn groin muscle

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Gary Harris has become part of the young core in Denver, a “3&D” two guard who often gets assigned top point guards go stop. He proved his value on both ends of the court last season for coach Mike Malone.

Now the Nuggets are going to be without him to start the season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Groin muscles can be slow to heal and tricky — it’s easy to think things are good and push through a little pain, only to re-injure the same muscle. The Nuggets need to be cautious and make sure he’s 100 percent before returning.

Harris being out is a blow to the Nuggets, who likely will use some combination of Will Barton and rookies Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley to fill in for Harris. That’s going to be a step back on the defensive end of the court.

Oklahoma City beats Barcelona 92-89 for first win without Durant


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Forward Enes Kanter scored 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Barcelona 92-89 to conclude their preseason trip to Spain on Wednesday.

Kanter drove for a lay-up with a minute to play to put the Thunder ahead for good and avoid a second straight defeat after losing at Real Madrid on Monday.

It was the second game the Thunder have played since the departure of star forward Kevin Durant this summer to Western Conference rival the Golden State Warriors.

The Thunder heads back to the U.S. for four more preseason games, this time against NBA opponents Dallas, Memphis, Minnesota and Denver, before opening the season at the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 26.